Tag Archives: Working Women

Working Women

Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist’s Leadership Credo for Growing Businesses, Careers

Ann Winblad

Ann Winblad

Ann Winblad is one of the most prominent, yet low-profile venture capitalists and among a minority of women venture capitalists – about 11 percent of today’s VCs.

She co-founded Open Systems, an accounting software company in 1976, then co-founded Venture Capital firm Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, which invests more than $1 billion in software companies.

Hummer Winblad She offers recommendations for women and men investing in businesses, careers, and themselves:

• Seek risk and fail fast to enable rapid course-correction
• Strive to be more resilient than strong
• Adapt as quickly as possible
• Place greater value on learning from all sources over formal education
• Exercise intellectual curiosity and stamina
• Tolerate ambiguity and lack of experts during high-growth periods
• Look for possibility in the “half-full glass”
• State assumptions and build on those of others
• Cultivate honesty and transparency

-*Which of Winblad’s recommendations have you seen practiced by the most effective organizational leaders and entrepreneurs you know?

LinkedIn Open Group: Women in Technology (Sponsored by EMC)
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary   

©Kathryn Welds

Remaining Workplace Challenges after 1970 Newsweek Sex-Discrimination Lawsuit

As recently as 2006, a young female journalist at Newsweek observed that men received higher-profile assignments and better opportunities, at higher salaries.
She learned that decades earlier, women Newsweek staffers brought the first sex discrimination lawsuit in the media industry concerning the same issues.

Lynn Povich

Lynn Povich

Lynn Povich, one of the original Newsweek staffers, recounts the incident in its larger social context, in The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace 

Their complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was filed on the same day that Newsweek ran a cover story on “Women in Revolt,” March 16, 1970.

Women staffers charged that they had been “systematically discriminated against in both hiring and promotion and forced to assume subsidiary role” due entirely to their gender.

As viewers enjoy the quaint period elements of the Mad Men-era workplace, Povich’s book illustrates that significant remnants of this discriminatory culture persists today.

-*What continuing workplace inequities have you observed in the past year?
-*What are effective ways to respond to differential workplace opportunities and treatment?

LinkedIn Open Group Catalyst
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Toys, Books, and Kits Attract Girls to Engineering

The small number of women role models in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers is widely recognized.

Debbie Sterling

Debbie Sterling

Debbie Sterling, a Stanford-educated engineer, is among a group of educators and entrepreneurs developing toys, books, games, and kits to attract girls to technical careers.

She introduced books and construction toys for girls centered on a fictional role model, Goldie, in response to her experience of collaborating mostly with men during her studies of product design in Stanford’s mechanical engineering department.

The first book, intended for girls, ages 5 to 9, is called GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine. Goldie lives in “her engineering house with gears and moving parts everywhere,” five character figurines (including Nacho the dog and Benjamin Cranklin the cranky cat), and a construction toy, featuring a pegboard, wheels, axles, blocks, a crank, a ribbon, and washers.

Goldie creates a “spinning machine” for her dog, who enjoys chasing his tail and yelling out random words in Spanish, by deconstructing a ballerina music box and reverse engineering it. Girls can create their own spinning toys with as they read through the story.

Her next products include books with a pulley system elevator, a parade float, circuits and gears, and an eBook where Goldie learns to code.

Another product intended to increase girls’ skill and confidence in working with technology is Hummingbird, an educational robotics kit.
Developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute’s Arts and Bots program, spin-off startup BirdBrain Technologies, showcases robotics with craft materials and text to communicate thoughts, feelings, or ideas.

The kit includes a control board, lights, sensors, and motors.
Students (usually ages 11 and up) program their creations on a computer by dragging and dropping icons, so they don’t have to learn computer languages.

Students have experimented with making a robot from cardboard wrapped in tin foil that can twirl, flash lights, and even impersonate the Star Wars robot, R2D2.
Another project was a dragon made of paper and popsicle sticks that flaps its wings and hisses.
Others crafted a robotic arm with muscles made of cast-off pantyhose.

Pennsylvania students analyzed poetry, then created animated scenes for poems using the kit.
Elsewhere high school students created kinetic sculptures with sensors that detect environmental changes and respond with movement.
Others built a “coin monster” for the school’s ancient coin exhibit.

Emily Hamner

Emily Hamner

Research Associate Emily Hamner and Tom Lauwers, the founder of BirdBrain Technologies conducted workshops to learn girls’ goals and interests in making robots.
They learned that girls are most interested in creating robots that can tell stories, dance, communicate, and interact with people.

Hamner and Lauwers’ goal is to enable young people “to create whatever they can imagine,” to inspire students’ interest in STEM careers, and to increase their “understanding and confidence in using the technology.”

-*What toys and games have you seen increase young people’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics activities?

LinkedIn Open Group Women in Technology (sponsored by EMC)
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Glass Elevator and Nine Principles for Personal Branding, Career Impact

Ora Shtull

Ora Shtull

Ora Shtull points to the small number of women leading Fortune 500 companies to argue that women can benefit from adopting nine practices to enhance personal branding.

Her book, The Glass Elevator – A Guide to Leadership Presence for Women on the Rise, focuses on: The Glass Elevator

• High-impact communication through asking strategic questions

• Practicing confident body language in posture, body position, and vocal projection

• Listening to learn and understand• Developing a collaborative relationship with your manager• Partnering with team members and direct reports to deliver results• Expanding your network by being likable and generous• Asking for what you want with “win-win” in mind
• Sharing your differentiators• Adopting a positive outlook, even if at first it’s “as-if”

Shtull developed a comprehensive Leadership Presence Coaching model based on the principles of Influence-Engage-Connect, and a related assessment

-*Which of Shtull’s recommendations have most helped you ride the “Glass Elevator”?

Related Posts:

LinkedIn Open Group Catalyst
Google+
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Three Factors Affecting Women in Corporate Leadership

Sara King

The Center for Creative Leadership’s Sara King and Northwestern University professor Alice Eagly examine the obstacles, pressures and trade-offs women face at every stage of their careers to analyze the reason that only three percent of Fortune 500 leaders are women.

Alice Eagly

King’s and Eagly’s research identified three factors affecting women in corporate leadership roles:

•    “Walking the narrow band” of acceptable behaviors: tough and demanding to be credible and effective but “easy to be with”; demonstrating the desire to succeed but not appearing “too” ambitious

•    “Owned by the job”, with the expectation of availability and productivity 24/7

•    “Traversing the Balance Beam” of conflicting role demands and limited time to fulfill them

They provide familiar suggestions:
•    Seek out mentors and advocates

•    Take risks, accept challenges to demonstrate adaptability, versatility.
Communicate willingness to change jobs and take on special projects to gain experience.
Learn from research findings that women are not viewed as promotable if they stay in one area of expertise or have a narrow functional role.

•    Communicate decisions, demand results, even if unpopular or requiring change management and persuasion

•    Project confident. Projecting an effective leadership image requires confidence. Don’t undermine good results with a weak or too modest self-image

Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders.
Alice H. Eagly  Linda L. Carli, 2007 Harvard Business School Press.
The Center for Creative Leadership showcased related research that identified five themes among high-achieving women: agency, authenticity, connection, self-clarity and wholeness.

Agency, taking control of one’s career:
•    Analyze career steps
•    Set realistic, specific goals and develop a plan for achieving them
•    Ask for challenges outside your current functional orientation
•    Seek recognition
•    Ask for what you deserve

Authenticity, being genuine, being yourself by developing self-awareness to clarify   values, preferences, skills, acceptable trade-offs and acceptable sacrifices.

Connection, by taking time for people, to build personal and professional relationships, networking, finding a mentor, establishing a personal “board of directors” to provide support and feedback.

Self-clarity from seeking feedback and reflecting on one’s values, motivations, behaviors, strengths, weaknesses, impact on others.
This is a continuing process of evaluating changes in your needs, motivations, goals, values, while observing patterns, and being open to possibilities.

Wholeness from seeking roles beyond work or to unite different life roles, by prioritizing commitments and saying “no” to low-priority roles or obligations.

-*What solutions have you seen most effective in navigating the challenges facing women seeking leadership roles?

LinkedIn Open Group Catalyst
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Silicon Valley Tech Women Encourage STEM Careers

Mala Devlin

Mala Devlin

Mala Devlin, Engineering Manager at Cisco Systems and Trina Alexson‘s book, Bit by Bit encourages young women in high school and university to pursue high tech careers.

Trina Alexson

Trina Alexson

Devlin and Alexson interviewed more than 40 women across leading Silicon Valley companies to highlight the top 10 reasons why young women should consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers, despite women’s under-representation in these fields.

The authors provide descriptions of job roles and career paths, and list skills required to succeed in technology careers.

Insights from this book are equally applicable to young men, and the authors encourage members of all under-represented groups to consider STEM careers.

Devlin and Alexson donated all profits from the book to the Anita Borg Society for Women in Technology

-*What practices have you seen increase interest in STEM careers among young women and other under-represented groups?

Linkedin Open Group Women in Technology (sponsored by EMC)
Linkedin Open Group Catalyst
Linked Open Group Diversity
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Female and Minority Supervisor Influence

Katherine L. Milkman

Wharton operations and information management professor Katherine L. Milkman and Harvard Business School professor Kathleen L. McGinn, investigated how race and gender affect career mobility for young professionals, especially those entering career fields where they must be promoted to remain (law firms, universities, consulting firms).

Kathleen L. McGinn

They examined five years of personnel data and employee interviews from a large national law firm and found a correlation between the number of female supervisors and the probability of promotion and retention of junior-level female employees, published in Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge as “Looking Up and Looking Out: Career Mobility Effects of Demographic Similarity among Professionals.”

The enabling benefit of demographically similar employees and supervisors was accompanied by a perhaps surprising correlation.
Work groups with a high number of same-gender or same-race underrepresented minorities had a higher attrition rate, attributed to employees’ perception that the competition reduced their chances for promotion.

Milkman and McGinn noted that placing many underrepresented employees (women and underrepresented minorities) in the same group may lead to structural marginalization, or “ghettoes” of low-power.
This effect was present in groups composed mostly of men.
In contrast, the exit decisions of white and Asian employees did not seem affected by working in groups with other white and Asian employees.

The researchers cited the massively unequal representation of women and minorities among partners in professional services organizations.
A 2009 study that showed women made up 46% of associates but 19% of partners across U.S. law firms, and racial minorities represented 20% of the lawyers across the country but only 6% of partners.

Milkman is currently analyzing data on the role that race and gender play in sponsorship or patronage in academia.
She sent emails to 6,500 professors at academic institutions across the country from purported male, female, white, or minority “students”  requesting a 10-minute meeting for one-time mentoring, either that day or next week.

She found that “female” and “minority” students received significantly fewer responses from prospective mentors, particularly when asked for assistance in the future.
She noted that these findings contrast with the popular expectation of less overt or unconscious discrimination in academic settings.

-*How have you seem race and gender affect career mobility in the past year?

LinkedIn Open Group – Diversity – A World of Change 
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Investing in Women for Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors

Pemo Theodore

Pemo Theodore

Pemo Theodore, Founder of Ezebis, collaborated with Ai Ching, co-founder of  Piktochart to create an informative, sobering infographic about investing in women.

They note that only 15% of angel investors are women and only 11% of investing partners at VC firms in the United States are women.

Ai Ching

Ai Ching

Theodore and Ching  portrayed the meaning of these statistics in relation to women’s participation in the workforce, and other dimensions in this compelling infographic, using Ching’s inforgraphic-generating product, Piktochart.

-*What barriers and enablers have you observed for women entrepreneurs?
-*What infographic tools do you find most useful?

LinkedIn Open Group – Harvard Business Review
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Large-Cap Companies with Women Board Members Outperformed Peers

Credit Suisse Research Institute analyzed the performance of close to 2,400 companies with and without women board members from 2005 onward, and evaluated four key financial metrics:

1. Higher return on equity (ROE): The average ROE of companies with at least one woman on the board over the past six years is 16 percent; four percentage points higher than the average ROE of companies with no female board representation (12 percent).

2. Lower net debt to equity ratio: Net debt to equity of companies with no women on the board averaged 50 percent over the past six years; those with one or more have a marginally lower average, at 48 percent.

3. Higher price/book value (P/BV) multiples: In line with higher average ROEs, aggregate P/BV for companies with women on the board (2.4x) is on average a third higher than the ratio for those with no women on the board (1.8x).

4. Better average growth: Net income growth for companies with women on the board averaged 14 percent over the past six years compared to 10 percent for those with no female board representation.

The report offered seven hypotheses to explain the performance findings, including:

Improved Corporate Governance: Academic research reveals that a greater number of women on the board improves performance on corporate and social governance metrics.

Risk Aversion: The study analyzed the MSCI AC World constituents and found that stocks of companies with women on the board are more likely to have lower levels of gearing than their peer group where there are no women on the board.

Lower relative debt levels have been a useful determinant of equity market out-performance, delivering average out-performance of 2.5 percent per year over the last 20 years and 6.5 percent per year over the last four years.

Gender Diversity and Corporate Performance report

-*What financial results have you observed among large organizations with women board members?

LinkedIn Open Group – Harvard Business Review
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary  

©Kathryn Welds

How Parents can Limit Girls’ Leadership and Achievement Potential

Forbes Woman observed that seven parenting and teaching practices may still persist, and have been shown to limit girls’ potential for achievement in school and sports.

These practices can lay the foundation for unchallenged assumptions that may continue to limit their potential to advance in workplace leadership roles.

1. Teach her to be polite and quiet without skills to be proactive and assertive

2. Buy her gender-specific toys

3. Focus on her appearance more than her accomplishments

4. Give in to the allure of the ”princess cult”

5. Assign her father or male caretaker all the physical tasks around the house

6. Limit most of her social contract to other girls

7. Criticize your own body, and/or women’s bodies

-*How do you help girls develop leadership and achievement skills they will need in the next decade and beyond?

LinkedIn Open Group – Leadership Think Tank
Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+
Facebook Notes:
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds